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1. HABITAT RING CORRIDOR - OUTSIDE SISKO’S QUARTERS

- into a completely different part of the station. O’Brien and Bashir look around, confused at the sudden change of setting. They try to regain their bearings: O’Brien manages it first.

O’BRIEN: The habitat ring.

BASHIR: How did we end up here?

O’BRIEN: Transporter?

Bashir encouraged by the thought, clutches the straw O’Brien’s offered.

BASHIR: You think so?

O’BRIEN: No not really.

BASHIR: Oh.

O’BRIEN: Didn’t feel like a beam. Too fast.

Deciding to explore, O’Brien walks further along the corridor and exits forwards. As he does, Bashir notices the corridor walls are covered with intricate writing. Moving closer, he scans the text and reads out loud.

BASHIR: “I need to talk about this. I have to justify what's happened. I can't talk to anyone else, not even… (pause) Not even Dax.”

O’Brien re-enters from behind. A straight corridor has led around in a loop: he’s right back where he started. Bashir reads on…

BASHIR: “Maybe if I just lay it all out, it’ll finally make sense…

A voice can be heard from inside Sisko’s quarters: it’s too faint to make out what is being said. O’Brien edges to the door and tilts his head to listen.

Speaking along with Bashir, the voice within picks up the story.

BASHIR & (O.S) SISKO: “And I’ll see where it all went wrong... Where I went wrong. I suppose it all started two weeks ago when I was-

O’BRIEN: Julian. He’s in there.

BASHIR: What’s he doing?

O’Brien returns to eavesdropping; he’s listening in on the Captain’s monologue from In the Pale Moonlight.

SISKO (O.S) :… for the past three months, I’ve posted the official list of Starfleet personnel killed, wounded or missing in the war…

Taking a laser spanner from his toolkit, O’Brien gently prise the door open… just an inch. He peers through.

O’BRIEN: Talking.

The Captain is sitting on his couch, the room is dark, moody. Sisko faces the blank, far wall and addresses it directly.

BASHIR: Talking? To himself?

O’BRIEN: I’m not sure.

BASHIR: Someone’s with him?

O’BRIEN: He’s alone.

BASHIR: (Impatient) Then he’s talking to himself isn’t he.

Bashir moves to see, knocking O’Brien’s hand as he does so. As the laser spanner goes to work, the door opens fully with an audible swish and a loud chime.

INT SISKO’S QUARTERS

In the Pale Moonlight: Sisko, drink in hand, is speaking directly to us. O’Brien and Bashir stand in the doorway looking guilty.

O’BRIEN: Ah. Er...just checking the doors sir…

But Sisko doesn’t look around. He continues to speak to a blank wall and an audience that isn’t there.

SISKO: …that’s the reason they’ll finally take action.

The Chief gestures authoritatively with the spanner.

O’BRIEN: We’ve been having some problems with the- override systems.

He trails off. Sisko continues to monolog to thin air. The Doctor moves gently toward Sisko, observing his patient: something is very wrong… who the hell is he speaking to? O’Brien follows.

BASHIR: Sir?

SISKO: I’d committed myself. I’d pay any price, got to any lengths. Because my cause was righteous.

BASHIR: (gently) Captain?

SISKO: My intentions were good. In the beginning, that seemed like enough.

Bashir crouches, touching the Captain’s arm.

BASHIR: Do you know who I am sir?

SISKO: (Distracted) Of course. You’re Julius.

BASHIR: Close.

Bashir gets out his medical tricorder and starts to scan. Sisko regards him properly for the first time.

SISKO: But no cigarette. I see. Julian. And with Miles O’Brien. Deep Space Nine’s Chief of Operations. (To O’Brien re. Bashir) I thought you couldn’t stand him?

Both men are taken aback by the directness of the question.

O’BRIEN: That was a long time ago. Things change. People change.

SISKO: Do they?

Momentarily, we see Bashir and O’Brien from a different point of view-

3. ISOLATION WARD - DAY

- standing in front of the padded white walls of a cell.

BENNY: What do you do when they don’t? When they never will?

He gets up suddenly, animated now. Pacing and moving about the cell. He recites from In The Pale Moonlight as if O’Brien and Bashir aren’t there.

BENNY: I waited. I’m not an impatient man. I got that from my father. The soufflé will either rise or it won’t-

O’BRIEN: Captain?

BENNY: There’s not a damn thing you can do about it. So you might as well sit back and wait. And see what happens. But there’s only so long you can wait.

Bashir and O’Brien watch him, puzzled. In uniform and in the 24th Century: they haven’t made the scene jump.

BENNY: People are dying out there. Every day. Struggling for their freedom and here I am…

MATCH CUT

4.) DEEP SPACE NINE - SISKO'S QUARTERS

We’re back in the 24th Century.

SISKO: Here I am…

Sisko sits down his head in his hands.

SISKO: …dreaming.

BASHIR: Captain, these neural readings are similar to those you had a few weeks ago. Are you having visions again?

SISKO: No.

Yeah, right.

BASHIR: We’re going to the infirmary. Right now.(Gesturing for help) Miles-

SISKO: Don’t touch me.

Sisko grabs Bashir’s arm and slams him against the bulkhead. O’Brien moves to help - the Doctor waves him to stay where he is.

BASHIR: Try to stay calm.

SISKO: I don’t want to be calm. I’ve been calm long enough. (Bitter) Doctors - you think you can fix everything. Think you know everything. You don’t even know who you’re trying to save.

BASHIR: I’m a Doctor. You’re my patient. That’s all I need to know…

Bashir’s trails off, his conviction lessened by a sense of déjà-vu. Sisko gives him a hollow smile: the Doctor is remembering past lines.

SISKO: Exactly. Just enough to play your part. Just what I need you to know.

Something in Sisko's voice makes Bashir back down; he allows him to take the medical tricorder out of his hand.

SISKO: Look at this place. To think that this is what my life has been reduced to.

He picks up the whisky glass from the coffee table.

SIKSO: This sterile nutshell... this prison!

Sisko throws the glass with force. It should shatter against the blank wall only-

5. INT. ISOLATION WARD - DAY

- it doesn’t. Instead, a plastic beaker bounces off a white wall. It lands with a soft thud at O’Brien’s feet on the floor of a 20th Century isolation ward. They’ve all made the trip this time.

O’BRIEN: What the hell!

O’Brien spins around, trying to grasp his new surroundings: bright light, bare walls, one chair. There is a smell of fresh paint. He fixes on Benny who is dressed all in white and stalking up and down muttering to himself.

BENNY: The temperature is always too cold.

Bashir is following: more concerned with his patient than the scene jump.

BASHIR: Just stop please. Let me help you.

BENNY: (ignoring him) The lights are always too bright.

There is a large bruise on Benny’s temple.

BASHIR: How did that happen?

BENNY: (directly to Bashir) And nothing ever changes. All those years, all the time in between. Everything that’s happened… And I’m still here. In this room. It’s too slow… too slow…

The cell door opens and DOCTOR SLOAN enters holding a newspaper and a medical folder. Benny abruptly breaks off the conversation with his doctor but it’s too late. Dr Sloan sees only a madman frantically talking to thin air.

BASHIR: (With disdain) Sloan. I might have known.

DR. SLOAN: Morning Benny.

This isn’t the Agent Sloan that Bashir and O’Brien know in the 24th Century. Doctor Sloan speaks in a thick, Texan accent and exudes an affable air. Nevertheless, Benny retreats to the cell’s farthest corner. An ORDERLY files in behind and locks the door.

O’BRIEN: Where are we?

BASHIR: We’ve no time for games Sloan.

Neither seeing nor hears O’Brien and Bashir, Sloan reaches out his hand to offer Benny the newspaper.

DR. SLOAN: Brought you something to read.

BASHIR: Never mind all that. What have you done to the Captain?

O’BRIEN: Julian. He can’t see us. Look.

O’Brien waves his hand in front of Sloan to demonstrate the point. Benny is still backed into the farthest corner.

BENNY: I don’t belong here.

DR. SLOAN: I’m afraid the American Psychiatric Association and the State of New York disagree.

He offers the newspaper again. Benny doesn’t take it. With a sigh, Sloan drops it onto the floor, the front page clearly visible. It’s the New York Times, July 24th 1969. Profile shots of Collins, Aldrin and Armstrong stare out in black and white. Above, the headline proclaims “MOON HEROES BACK: Apollo 11 splashes down in the Pacific.”

Benny can’t hide his interest. He’s dreamt of space since he was five years old. He moves to pick it up.

BENNY: They did it. They really did it.

DR. SLOAN: Yes they did.

BENNY: (Awed by the thought of it) Men on the moon.

O’Brien and Bashir move to his side to read: three Starfleet officers - momentarily all in uniform - looking at three Apollo astronauts.

DR. SLOAN: Just like in one of your stories.

BENNY: (reading, excited by the details) Yes.

Sloan gestures to the front page and the photographs.

DR. SLOAN: Only… what do you notice about the men on the moon Benny? (beat) Any coloreds up there?

Benny realises Sloan’s laid a trap and he’s taken the bait: he sits down and draws into himself.

BENNY: No.

BASHIR: There will be one day. (realising Sloan can’t hear him) Captain, tell him!

The rabid hostility hidden beneath Sloan’s amiable surface bubbles up.

DR. SLOAN: No. Because this is reality. Not some jumped up Negro fantasy…

BASHIR: Tell him!

DR. SLOAN: White men are on the moon… and where are you?

BASHIR: About the Federation, about Starfleet. What’s coming.

Sloan is standing over Benny now. O’Brien registers the threat and the orderly approaching behind. So does Benny.

O’BRIEN: This isn’t helping. (warning) Julian…

DR. SLOAN: I said where are you, boy?

BENNY: Here.

DR. SLOAN: That’s right.

Benny is perfectly still.

BASHIR: Tell him! There will be one day. That world exists. You’ve seen it! Captain! Tell him!

Benny considers Bashir: a young 24th Century doctor in his Starfleet uniform completely unaware of the colour of his skin. It’s never come up - not once in his life. He’s never given it a moment’s thought. Ever.

BENNY: There will be one day.

DR. SLOAN: What did you say?

BENNY: There will be one day. Millions of people of all creeds and colours living on the Moon.

And not just there. Everywhere. On every planet, every ship, around every star far out into deep space.

It’s coming. I can see it. And you’re afraid because you can too and there’s not a damn thing you can do about it.

Sloan hits him: it’s a vicious blow. Benny offers little resistance. Its many years since he was a writer for Incredible Tales and he’s aged: a consequence of living in the real world.

O’BRIEN: You sonofabitch!

O’Brien lunges for Sloan but passes through him like ghost. As he does, the orderly moves toward Benny with a hypodermic needle. Bashir snatches for it… his hand fading through the plastic and metal. The two men watch with frantic frustration as the orderly rolls up Benny’s sleeve and prepares the injection.

O’BRIEN: This is useless. We’re useless. We need to help him!

BASHIR: What is that? What are they giving you? (reading the label, alarmed) Risperidone. No - that’s too much.

Benny’s speech starts to slur: the drug is already taking affect.

BENNY: Stop… it’s too much...

DR. SLOAN: Mothers milk this boy, makes you calm, takes the visions and dreams away.

O’BRIEN: (Futilely) Don’t you touch him!

BASHIR: Captain, stay with us: focus on my voice.

BENNY: It’s real: that station...

BASHIR: Keep your eyes open. No, stay awake. Benny.

BENNY: It doesn’t matter what you do. It’s coming. That future, I’ve seen it. It exists…

DR. SLOAN: No.

BENNY: It’s real.

DR. SLOAN: It isn’t. But I am.

Sloan lashes out again. In the 20th Century, Benny lapses into unconsciousness …

FADE OUT.

END OF ACT THREE.


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